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Norwegian Pearl Returns To Miami After Several Crew Members Test Positive For COVID-19

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A South Florida-based cruise ship cut its voyage short and returned to port due to COVID-19.

The Norwegian Pearl arrived at PortMiami on Wednesday after several crew members tested positive.

"They told us crew members got sick with COVID and they were turning around and coming back," said passenger Elliott Bronfman.

Bronfman and his wife Lisa joked that they overpacked for a two-day cruise, but they're looking on the bright side.

"It's a little disappointing but we're safe and sound, no COVID, so we're going to be okay," he said.

The ship, which left Monday, was scheduled to sail a Panama Canal itinerary roundtrip from Miami and return on January 14.

"As we continue to navigate the fluid public health environment while focusing on delivering a safe experience for all on board, today, we made the difficult decision to cancel Norwegian Pearl's Jan. 3, 2022 voyage, due to COVID related circumstances," Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement.

Also, a Norwegian Getaway cruise, which was scheduled to depart on Wednesday, was canceled because of COVID-related circumstances.

"We just flew in. We didn't' know it was canceled until we got here," said Gabby Rodriguez.

Gabby and Sarah arrived from New York expecting to board the Getaway. Now they're planning a Miami Beach vacation. Others are trying to figure out what to do next.

"Where am I going to go? I'm homeless now, essentially," said Odette Smith.

Ashley Kosciolek with The Points Guy, a travel website, said Norwegian takes their COVID-19 safety protocols seriously.

"All passengers and crew, with the exception of very young children, have to be fully vaccinated before they can sail and every passenger has to be tested before they embark," she said.

Also, there are mask requirements on the ships.

"We will never compromise on health and safety and we will, of course, continue to take all appropriate action to ensure everyone's well-being and to protect public health," according to the cruise line statement," according to the cruise line statement.

Analysts from The Points Guy and The Cruise Guy, say despite recent cases on ships, with all the COVID protocols, vaccination requirements and testing, cruising remains safe for the vast majority of passengers.

"I will point out, the numbers we're seeing on cruise ships are disproportionately low compared to what we're seeing on land," said Stewart Chiron with The Cruise Guy.

Last month, at least three other cruise ships operated by Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, that left from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale, had COVID-19 outbreaks.

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